Sports, Football

Abahani reluctant to play at Kings Arena

Published : 07 Dec 2023 09:42 PM

Defending champions Bashundhara Kings and former champions Dhaka Abahani Limited are scheduled to face each other in the second semifinal of the Independence Cup at Banshundhara Kings Arena on December 15. 

It is the home venue for the reigning champions, as the former title holders Abahani expressed their objection to play in this venue. Abahani have already sent a letter on December 4 to the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) requesting to shift the venue.  

Abahani’s newly appointed manager and former national football player Kazi Nazrul Islam when talking to the Bangladesh Post on Thursday said, “We want to play the semifinal in a neutral venue. 

“Our match against Bashundhara Kings scheduled to take place at the Kings Arena but it is their home venue and naturally it would be a big home advantage for them.”

“There are two more venues outside Dhaka, Sheikh Fazlul Haque Moni Stadium, Gopalganj and Bir Sreshtha Fl. Lt. Stadium, Munshiganj. We are ready to play at any venue rather than the Kings Arena, the home round of Kings.”

Meanwhile, the quarterfinal match between Abahani Limited and Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club took place at the Kings Arena on December 3 when the match was scheduled to take place at the Bir Sreshtha Fl. Lt. Stadium, Munshiganj but the BFF had to shift the venue to the Kings Arena, as Abahani did not agree to travel to Munshiganj due to Political crisis. 

Replying to a query Nazrul, also the former Abahani booter of Abahani, said, “Actually, that time there was strike and blocked program of opposition party, therefore we did not like to take risk and agreed to play at the Kings Arena and it the match against Sheikh Jamal, that is not their (Jama’s) home venue.”  

“As the semifinal match against Bashundhara Kings scheduled for Friday (December 15), hopefully, there will be no political programme of the oppositions like blockade or strike, so, we will have no problem to travel play outside the City and federation can arrange the match anywhere.” 

The Sky Blues sent the letter to the authorities after winning the matchagainst Sheikh Jamal DC by3-2 in tie-breaker at Bashundhara Kings Arena.  

Meanwhile, the Kings moved into last four beating Bangladesh Army by 2-1 at their home ground. 

“Quarters and semifinals are totally different ball game, so we can’t play at the opponents’ home venue.